- Series: Bollingen Series (General) (Book 31)
- Hardcover: 806 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; 3rd edition (October 21, 1967)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 069109750X
- ISBN-13: 978-0844295909
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 295 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The I Ching, or, Book of Changes (Bollingen Series XIX) (Bollingen Series (General)) 3rd Edition
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More than just a translation, Richard Wilhelm's I Ching is a profound introduction to the Chinese world-view. The I Ching (Yi Jing) is recognized by both Confucians and Taoists as a foundational work, and Wilhelm shows why. He separates his work into three books. The first book is about the hexagrams--the meanings of the lines and Wilhelm's extensive comments. The second presents two early commentaries that interpret the wisdom of the divinatory text, also with Wilhelm's helpful notes. And the third book takes us back to the hexagrams for more detailed commentary from both ancient Chinese thinkers and Wilhelm. Wilhelm is able to offer such enormous assistance because he spent the better part of a decade in China studying under classically trained scholars. His love for the work is thus as broad as his understanding.
The I Ching was originally used for divination, kind of like palm reading or interpreting the stars. It differs from simple prognostication, however, in that it demands us, as diviners, to cultivate an understanding of the world and ourselves. Without this understanding, the text is useless, hence the value of the commentaries, particularly Wilhelm's. This version is not without its biases, of course--it is a European's understanding of the I Ching, through a late-Qing dynasty Confucian perspective, translated into English by a Jungian psychoanalyst. Nonetheless, it succeeds like no other. --Brian Bruya
Princeton's Bollingen edition--still regarded as the best and most authentic by I Ching aficionados. (The New York Times Book Review)
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I went to I Ching, tossed my three coins, and read what it said in the hexagram the coins directed me to. What I read was appropriate to my circumstances. I was still not ready to make my choice, but I had a better understanding of the situation in front of me. I wrote down the hexagram, and took notes on what I Ching told me.
Then I lost my notes. Because I still needed to make my decision, I tossed the three coins again, and went to the hexagram they told me to study.
I was astonished. I was told to go to the same hexagram I had been directed to the first time. The chances of this happening were one in 4,096. I Ching is magic, I concluded. I wrote down the hexagram, and took notes on what it told me about my situation.
Several days later I found my first notes. It turned out that with two tosses of the coins I had been directed to two different hexagrams. Nevertheless, in each case what I read was relevant to my situation. Each hexagram helped me make a difficult decision that turned out to be in my interest.
I Ching is not magic. In a sense it is even more remarkable. It does not serve as a sorcerer, but as a skilled psychologist, one who asks the right questions, helps you to understand aspects of your subconscious mind, and who helps you to solve your problems.
Astrology is somewhat the same. The next time you read your horoscope in a newspaper, do not read what it says for your sign. Read what it says for another sign. If you are facing a problem in your life you will probably find that the writing for the other sign is helpful. Then read your sign. It too is helpful. Finally, read the horoscope in another newspaper, and see what it says for your sign.
There will probably not be any similarity in what the two different horoscopes say about your sign. Nevertheless, each will be helpful.
I have never worked with tarot cards. I suspect that they work the same way. I Ching, astrology, and tarot are evocative. Their ambiguous messages encourage you to project your concerns into them. In the process they help you in ambiguous situations.
The use of the yarrow-sticks or the coins is a way to encourage one who consults I Ching to believe that there is something super natural in its working. What would be less psychologically interesting, but equally effective would be to use a roulette wheel with 64 slots, or to cut 64 small pieces of paper, write one to sixty four on the pieces, put them into a hat, shuffle the hat, close your eyes, and pick a piece of paper. Any one of the 64 hexagrams can give you helpful insights and advice.
Epictetus said that a gambler cannot determine the roll of the dice. He can determine what he will do when the dice stop rolling.
I Ching will not tell the future. It will not give you a winning lottery number. It will not tell you which horse will win a race. It will not tell you which stocks will gain in value, and which will lose. It will not tell you that next week you will receive a letter from a former love interest you have neither seen for years nor been able to forget. It will help you decide how to respond to that letter, if you received it last week.
Now I am a hard-core scientist and an agnostic, but sometimes things happen...
I am not going to try to explain what is happening here, neither for myself nor for others.
It is something to be explored, and like music, poetry, maths, chess, gardening, quantum physics ...what-have-you, sometimes you get entangled, sometimes you don't.
If you do with this book, it will be a fulfilling lifetime affair with someone you never really get to know.